UNA-UK has consistently argued that pandemics, like so many of our global problems, cross borders with ease and thus cannot be addressed by any one country acting alone. Already the outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is demonstrating that this is the case; we are only ever as safe from the risk of infection as the least protected members of our global community.
Events such as these demonstrate the purpose and value of our global system of multilateral institutions, particularly – at this moment – the World Health Organisation, without whom this crisis would undoubtedly be many times worse. We would strongly encourage all governments, institutions and individuals to follow the guidance available on the World Health Organisation website. In the current circumstances it is more important than ever that the world have a single credible hub for information and guidance on responding to this pandemic, and it is invaluable that the World Health Organisation provide this service.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made abundantly clear that currently our global system does not sufficiently mitigate the risk of catastrophic global events. And indeed, the crisis demonstrates commonalities with other failures in our ability to adopt common responses to shared problems – such as climate change. UNA-UK is currently leading a campaign to improve the way our global system rises to this sort of challenge: Together First.
Together First is commissioning a report specifically looking at the questions that are posed and the lessons that can be learned from the COVID-19 outbreak. More broadly, if you feel there are things that our global system, or indeed the World Health Organisation, needs to be doing differently to combat the pandemic, please do tell us via the Together First website.
To find out how UNA-UK are ourselves responding to the pandemic, click here.
Photo: WHO media briefing on COVID-19. Credit: WHO/Twitter